Bentham Ohia has been announced as the new Māori Party co-vice president (Tāne).
President Che Wilson says the selection of Ohia aligns with their new direction, hoping to restore Māori faith and voters to the party at the next election.
“We are elated that he has agreed to take up the role, with the full backing of the Māori Party,” says Wilson.
The Māori Party failed to return to parliament last year following the shock loss of incumbent Waiariki MP Te Ururoa Flavell and failure of party candidates to win their electorates.
“The link between us and our communities was cut. We are working on re-establishing those connections.”
Ohia was chief executive of Te Wananga o Aotearoa (TWOA) for eight years.
Wilson says they've taken stock since the loss and he sees the party's inability to communicate who they were as a downfall. He says they believe Ohia has strengths in this area.
“He has done a lot of work with families and communities across the country,” he says.
“He's an articulate communicator to any audience, no matter who they are. He's skilled in connecting with people to gain their vote.”
The party will select their new leaders ahead of the next election but for now, they want to enlarge their membership and consolidate their policies.